So it’s over a month and a half late, but trust me when I say that it’s been a busy time, what with final exams and all kinds of graduation related activities. But here it is. Here’s coverage from the All Sweets and Snacks Expo from the non-baker and with photography help from the Foreign Correspondent, both of whom consider even the opportunity to have attended this convention to be absolutely magical.
Because, see there’s a bit you have to understand about the expo. It can be overwhelming- both visually and on the palate. And, you only get the one show bag, so you have to make sure not to get too much of any one thing (unless you’re absolutely nuts for a particular candy or snack item.) As a result, this year the non-baker had a very simple rule for herself: she was only allowed one bite of any given item. No matter how good or alluring: one bite. And though it was difficult, what with her love of jalapeno popcorn (there must have been at least 7 or 8 different varieties) and when faced with a chocolate company that offered full size turtles as snacks, she stuck to it and came away feeling full but not sickened by the candy in the way that she had been last year.
But enough of the difficulties. Here’s a snap-shot of the highlights of the show (for the non-baker):
1. Gross-out Galore
The non-baker and Foreign Correspondent, upon wandering into the expo post-breakfast in the press area, were greeted by the site of bug food. Quite literally, as in this case flavored and chocolate covered insects were offered up. The Foreign Correspondent was disgusted, but the non-baker, who loves trying new things tried both the nacho cheese flavored meal worms (which were ok, sort of like cheese doodles but less substantial) and the ranch flavored grasshoppers (which she enjoyed the flavor of, even if she found the texture off-putting.)
But it was, if nothing else, a truly fun item to sample.
2. The Return of the Toxic Waste Candy
While the sour liquid candy offered by the Toxic Waste Hazardously Sour Candy Company was absolutely delicious and quite tart (the non-baker considers herself a particular connoisseur of sour candies) the most exciting part of visiting this booth was the chance for the Foreign Correspondent to grab a photo of the guy dressed as their mascot, a mad scientist. An interesting side note: despite having seen ‘nuclear sludge’ candy at their table last year, it was not featured this year.
3. Gamer Grub
The Foreign Correspondent spotted this table. She and the non-baker were both interested in the idea. Unfortunately rather than being some sort of tie in with a particular video game, it is simply a snack, albeit a decent one that includes plenty of protein so that if you were gaming for extensive periods it would be helpful- I guess? Unfortunately, by itself it was not particularly delicious, especially when compared with the other sweets and snacks at the show.
4. Snacks that won’t kill you
At this point the non-baker and the Foreign Correspondent also decided that it would be a good idea to try as many of the savory offerings as possible- particularly because it was still mid-morning and neither of their stomachs had completely woken up enough to process the full offering of sweets available. As a result they tried a number of unusual snacks that were relatively healthy.
They tried some nori (Japanese seaweed) that was crunchy and fun.
They nibbled some dried…or was it dehydrated fruits and veggies. And were later, at a different stall, at the convention accosted by a woman at a booth when they were not able to immediately delineate the two methods, because according to this woman, one of them (though they fail to remember which) “removes all the flavor.”
Then they ate pieces of ramen snack from Good Good Eat, which both of them enjoyed.
They also tried crackers from Funley’s Super Crackers that had vegetables hidden in them (a way to get children to eat more healthfully.)
As it turns out, when one labels an exposition “All Sweets and Snacks” this allows items that might not otherwise fit into either category to feature their wares. Case in point: yogurt makers. To be fair the table was giving out yogurt samples (by way of those tiny little ice cream sampling spoons) and it was delicious yogurt, but the contraption did seem a bit, well, random.
6. Possibly the Best Idea Ever
The non-baker and Foreign Correspondent’s possibly favorite part of the convention was the booth at which they were invited to try some chocolate-dried fruit- and cheese pairings. Absolutely delicious and a fantastic idea and absolutely delectable.
7. Super nice companies
Another high point were some of the exceedingly kind booth staffers. This included Katy Sweet Pralines, who gave the non-baker and the Foreign Correspondent at least 7 or 8 different types of pralines.
Similarly, the woman from Enstrom Candies was happy to talk about the the candy and chocolate making process and about Enstrom’s 50 year history.
9. Aztec Chocolate Man
Just to round off the event, this year the whole thing had a mascot, an Aztec man dressed in dark brown in order to represent chocolate. No particular reason was given for for his appearance but he was happy to allow photos to be taken with him.
And there you have it. A belated dispatch from one of the most magical places on earth: the All Sweets and Snacks Expo.